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Raila meets close allies after arrival from Dubai surgery

By People Reporter
Tuesday, July 14th, 2020
Former Prime Minister, Raila Odinga. Photo/Courtesy

 Opposition chief Raila Odinga yesterday met his close allies a day after arriving in the country from Dubai where he had travelled for treatment.

Raila quietly arrived back on Sunday night.  He landed at the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) in United Arab Emirates registered chartered private jet at 9.50pm. 

Waiting to receive him at the airport were his family members led by wife Ida Odinga, daughter Rosemary, brother Dr Oburu Oginga and Orange Democratic Movement (ODM) chairman John Mbadi and Siaya Senator James Orengo, who is also the Senate Minority leader.

Mombasa Governor and ODM deputy leader Hassan Joho, Suna East MP and Minority Chief Whip in the National Assembly Junet Mohamed and Mombasa County Assembly Speaker Ibrahim Khatri, accompanied Raila from Dubai.

Joho, Mohamed and Khatri left the country last Thursday aboard the same jet  to visit Raila, who had what family members described as a minor surgery in a hospital run by Germans in Dubai.

Sources said the plane that had earlier been scheduled to fly to Zambia, had left the Al Maktoum International Airport in Dubai at 5.13pm on Sunday but diverted moments after it had taken off for Lusaka, Zambia, and the crew ordered to fly the ODM leader home.

Raila spent the whole of yesterday at his Karen home where he met some ODM leaders, among them Orengo, Mohamed, Mbadi, Edwin Sifuna (secretary general) and some government officials who visited him. 

Mbadi yesterday told journalists that Raila will be operating from his Karen home for at least two weeks where he will only entertain a limited number of people. “He is strong. 

You don’t want to put Raila in a situation where he goes back to the office and it is going to be crowded,” he said. 

Another source

Other sources said the ODM leader is preparing to join President Uhuru Kenyatta to receive the Building Bridges Initiative (BBI) report virtually.  The ceremony would be broadcast live. 

Another source close to the family said the ODM leader was keen to limit interactions in compliance with safety protocols against Covid-19 to ensure social distancing as he continues to recuperate.

“Baba is in Nairobi where he is expected to spend the coming days. State House will announce the next move on the BBI activities by the principals.

But he will take time to rest because political gatherings are banned but will hold virtual meetings with other leaders in Kenya and Africa,” said one MP. 

Odinga is the African Union High Representative on Infrastructure Development. 

 Joho said Raila was strong and in good spirits. “Was delighted to see my party leader looking fit and in high spirits after undergoing the surgical procedure in Dubai last week.

We continue to pray for his speedy recovery and a safe return home to Kenya,” he said while in Dubai.

Oburu who is an East African Legislative Assembly MP said the ODM chief had undergone a minor surgery.  “Raila is out of the country for a minor surgical operation on his back. It is just a minor one,” he told the media.

Raila comes back a week after the BBI taskforce  chaired by Garissa Senator Yusuf Haji announced that it had finalised its report and was ready to hand it over to the Uhuru and Raila.

Unless drastic changes are made to the report, a glimpse of the document gives away what awaits Raila in the coming days.

With the proposal to amend the Constitution, Raila is expected to lead campaigns for a possible referendum.

Moreover, he is likely to sustain his wars with Deputy President William Ruto and rally forces in support of a possible presidential bid in 2022.

The report has, among other things, proposed expansion of the Executive to create the post of Prime Minister and two deputies.

Ruto’s allies have, however, expressed reservations about the BBI campaign, saying it was meant to frustrate the DP’s presidential ambitions.